Eggs

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th July 1964.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Edwin Wainwright Mr Edwin Wainwright , Dearne Valley 12:00 am, 13th July 1964

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will state the number of tons of second-grade eggs, and the value, held by the Egg Marketing Board on the latest available date.

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

Since the Board is a producer-controlled marketing organisation set up under the Agricultural Marketing Act, and as such is independent of the Government in commercial matters, this information is not available in my Department.

Photo of Mr Edwin Wainwright Mr Edwin Wainwright , Dearne Valley

Does not the Minister agree that there are thousands of tons of these eggs in stock at the present time? Does he not also agree that to allow big business—the 12 large firms—to have control of these eggs has been detrimental to small business people everywhere? Would he not consider the idea that any surplus eggs that might otherwise go to waste could be processed and sent to the under-developed countries where "War on Want" is supplying food?

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

In answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, as he knows, there are now two complaints before the investigation committee, and it is not for me to comment on them beyond submitting them to the committee. As to the second part of his question, this is a commercial matter. It is for the Marketing Board to dispose of its eggs as it thinks best in its own commercial judgment, including the proportion that it chooses to break out. As to our contribution of foodstuffs to less-developed countries, this we do through the World Food Programme of the F.A.O. We make our contribution through that organisation, and it is for the F.A.O. to tell us what it wants us to produce, which is, in fact, barley and not dried egg.

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

Is it not within the Minister's knowledge that under the 1958 Agricultural Marketing Act he has the power to request this information, and does he not think that he has a duty to furnish it? Does he not further think that the sooner second quality eggs can be freely bought and sold on the market the sooner we can end this commercial nonsense the Board is perpetrating at the moment?

Hon. Members:

Answer.

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, Mr. Speaker, I beg to give notice that I will seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.